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EP 2: Tony Caraballo, Head of UX at Tenable

Podcast Transcript

James Mackey  0:12  

Hello, and welcome to episode two of scale by Design. Today, we are joined by Tony Caraballo. Tony, welcome to the show! How are you doing?


Tony Caraballo  0:20  

Hey, how's it going? Thanks for having me!


James Mackey  0:24  

I'm doing great. And I'm so excited to have you here today. I'm really pumped for this conversation. And before we jump into all the exciting topics we want to discuss today, I was hoping you could just tell everybody a little bit about yourself, your background, and what you're currently up to right now.


Tony Caraballo  0:40  

So I am the Head of UX at Tenable today, back then to UX from the Business Analysis route, which is something I love about UX, many different backgrounds, different entry points, and things like that. I've been doing some form of digital design for the better part of 20 years, got started really early with leading and managing creatives during my time as a record label owner, and working with musicians and artists and things like that. And then moved over to business analysis, and competitive intelligence, and moved into product design, through B2C as well as cybersecurity companies.


James Mackey  1:26  

Good stuff. And so for everybody listening in to Tony has a lot of experience working with enterprise, as well as startup and growth stage and advisory capacities. So he comes from an enterprise cybersecurity space. Right? So that's what you're there for the past several years. That's the space you're in terms of full time not advisory. But you know, in terms of your full-time roles, like it's in that space. 


Tony Caraballo  1:50  

Right, last seven years spent at FireEye Mandiant. And, just recently joined the Tenable. So that's all on the different sides of the enterprise security space.


James Mackey  2:02  

Nice, good stuff. So, I guess to start us off, I would love to talk to you a little bit about how to make and how to have repeatable success within the UX product design function. Like, we want to think about how to operationalize it and how to make it effective at scale for later growth stage organizations as well as for enterprise companies. 


Can you tell us a little bit about your philosophy and approach to operationalizing product design, and really helping organizations get the most out of that function and providing great experiences for customers?


Tony Caraballo  2:37  

Yes, that sounds like a pretty straightforward thing, right? It's plug and play, let's go!

I think that it's a journey. That's my philosophy on it, right? It's just like anything else, you start off kind of not doing what you're not knowing what you're doing wrong, and then kind of like learning what you're doing wrong, but still kind of failing at it anyway. And then start failing a little less. And then you start getting a little bit better. And you started operationalizing. That and doing it as a matter of, you know, standard operating procedure, right, like as a matter of practice, right? You're actually just doing the thing well. 


That's just like anything else, when you go into an enterprise, whether I'm advising or whether it's a company that I'm working full time with, go into enterprise and see kind of what stage they're at, with regard to the level of UX, maturity and product design and product strategy, maturity. How teams are working together. And are they doing the things that lead to good experiences, making it out the door and making it into the hands of customers? 


I think what I find is like a lot of times companies are looking at, are we making the right design decisions, right, like, are we doing? Are we creating good experiences? And did we come up with the right ideas, and it's my opinion, it's less about that, that's kind of like ad hoc, sometimes you'll have a good idea. Sometimes you won't, sometimes you have a really talented designer or a really talented engineer or somebody or executive somewhere in some part of your company. 


And they'll come up with something really great. And sometimes they won't in other parts of the company. And it's less about coming up with the right idea for me and more about, are you doing the practices? Are you doing the things that typically net good ideas so that you're just typically net good experiences? So that's just a matter of like clockwork day in and day out.


James Mackey  4:31  

So is that like so? And I think this is important to kind of dive into specifically how to make that happen on a tactical level. So can you walk us through kind of the process of I guess, I don't even know if this is the right place to start, but like collecting, like, client feedback and having l that feedback loop and how much that is really determining how you think about UX. 


Where's the starting point, right? And then, what's that lifecycle look like? And then how do you kind of bake that into a repeatable process? Can we go through what that looks like?


Tony Caraballo  5:09  

Sure. I think the starting point is always just like sunlight. 


It's just getting customer feedback, some feedback in some way, shape, or form. So that you, as a company, your organization, your leadership, your engineers are getting some kind of exposure, it's just about exposure, basically, they're getting some kind of exposure to what customers are going through, basically, like, what's, what pain points they're having? What's it? What does it really like to deal with your product? And to have your product in their life?

Like, as you know, and what did they have to actually go through with, the most important workflows that involve your product, right?


So you start conducting, a lot of people start with usability testing, and that's a really great place to start, you're watching and observing customers go through a workflow. And, it's not a demo, it's not, you know, a product demo, you're not telling them about your roadmap or anything like that you just literally watching people go through and observing people go through.


James Mackey  6:07  

So this is live, or is this like software that's tracking? Or like sitting on the product to analyze? Or is this just like Tony, where the customer, just like, is gonna do your thing?


Tony Caraballo  6:21  

There are a few ways you can do it, right? But the best place to start, in my opinion, is with moderated user testing. So you have somebody like me, for it could be somebody in the organization that wears many hats, somebody that's customer-facing, maybe a PM or user, if you don't have a UI/UX person, on staff, just gathering data and watching them, deal with a product and go through a workflow. So you just tell them " Hey, you know, if I’m a recruiting company, right, and I want to know what it's like for you to fill out an application on my website, right? 


And I'm just gonna ask you to go ahead and try to do that on my website, you know, and, and observe what you kind of go through to get that job done.


James Mackey  7:12  

Because I feel like the reason and something from the reason the moderated testing or observation is so important is because, there can actually be a dialogue that happens, like you can understand contextually like, Oh, this is why I'm acting like this, or this is why I'm following the workflow this way. Or this is why this annoys me.


And it's like, maybe that extra context helps you determine the path you go to fix it, versus if you're just using a software, you're okay, you notice someone's getting stuck here. This is where somebody's dropping off or whatever. But like, you may not know, okay, well, if you have that context of having that conversation with the customer, then maybe you know how to build it better than if you just have a software kind of scraping or following their workflow, right?


Tony Caraballo  7:56  

Yeah, the software is good for quantitative research, so that you can find out where people are falling off from the workflow. And it will tell you like " Hey, you know, people are kind of going back and forth between pages, or people are falling off here and leaving your site entirely, you know, they're just giving up or things like that, we're spending too much time or too little time somewhere, right? Based on what your goals are, right? But you need moderate in testing at that more in-depth testing to find out why. 


So the way that you combine the quantitative and the qualitative research is to do it both ways, you can have the software tell you the starting points, and then drill down with moderated testing, because now you know, kind of where to drill down into. Or if you start off with some moderated testing, and you start finding out, you know, you're only going to be testing with four or six users for moderated write, you don't need more than that. You don't need large numbers of participants for user testing. 


You might find something that you want to validate like, Hey, is everybody having this problem? Right? And then you'll switch it back over to quantitative or if you have software, some telemetry software that even tells you, you know, now that you know where to look, whether everybody's falling off at that point.


James Mackey  9:19  

So what just so people know, out there like, what is the software called? Like? Is there one that you prefer? Or that you recommend? That does this or..


Tony Caraballo  9:29  

No, I mean, I'm not talking about user testing or specific UX software. I'm just talking about regular telemetry data like they could use Google Analytics. Or like if you're using Amplitude or you know, something like that, there's a lot of different software that's out there for that.


James Mackey  9:54  

Okay, cool. And then is there a certain way that you engage with the customer in order to really get their buy-in, to do this, like, Is that challenging? 

Or is it pretty straightforward? Like, I mean, how much do you need to? Like for the people listening in? Is this something where there's an actual strategy or process to make sure you can get the buy-in from the customer to do this? Or is that pretty easy?


Tony Caraballo  10:16  

It depends. It depends on your industry, and it depends on your product. So I've done both B2C and B2B. 

So if you're on the B2C side, typically it's a lot easier, you set up some participant recruitment, and there's usually something like an honorarium that involves some kind of fee that you pay people for their time. And your audience is a lot wider, right? So I worked at GEICO, the audience for car insurance is anyone from 18 to 75,  right? Like, it's just, you know, and if you've got a driver's license, we probably want to talk to you, right? 


And so that's pretty straightforward. You just kind of get people in, and people will, their panels that there are entire economies, or businesses and ecosystems built up around this, right, there are companies out there like user testing, or that have panels available for you, for participants, and things like that. So there are ways to operationalize that, and just kind of automate that a little bit easier. 


Enterprise design is where participant recruitment gets really difficult sometimes, especially in cybersecurity, because your users are not people who are willing to take a survey for $50, or, they are using your product to do their jobs, and their time is valuable, especially depending on who your persona is. 

So it's a little bit more difficult to build those relationships and it takes more effort to build those relationships with your customers. And in cybersecurity, you have the additional sort of layer of like, yeah, I don't really want you to sit in my sock and my Security Operations Centre and watch me do my work. I'm doing a lot of stuff that, you know, I'm working with products that are not your products, you're in an industry where, you know, typically people are using many products alongside yours.


James Mackey  12:16  

So how do you do it, I mean, what's the..


Tony Caraballo  12:21  

So you start by identifying customers that can be friendly to give you feedback, that is investing in your product, especially with enterprise software. Like, once you've got a piece of that, sort of, you've established yourself in that line item and have the budget, and people are using, again, they're using your product to do their jobs, they need you to do well, you know, and, because if you're not doing well, and then they're not able to do your jobs, right, they need your product to work. 


And it's a lot easier, it's not like B2C where if your app doesn't work, you know, I'll just switch to another app, you know, with enterprise, it's like the kind of stuff that your product until the contract is up, or, you know, it's just a lot heavier lift to just switch around. 

So they do want your product to work. So you identify customers that are willing to give you feedback, start small, smart with surveys, or with some, you know, short user feedback sessions. And I like to just make sure that I'm keeping a participant repository list of folks that like, you know, are able to give us feedback or are friendly to give us feedback. 


And also making sure that we're, it's important to keep track, especially with enterprise software, it's important to keep track of when you contacted them last and you know, you're not going to be on their calendar every week, asking them questions about the product. So maintaining that list is important.


James Mackey  13:47  

So do you email them? Is it through the product-like chat feature? I mean, what does that actual outreach look like? Like a word track you use? Or like some type of incentive? Like I know, it's not B2C, where you can just say, " Hey, I'll give you a $50 Amazon gift card. I mean, do you ever do that kind of stuff and enterprise? Or is it? Is it like part of the onboarding where it's like, " Hey, now that you've been with us for 60/90 days, why don't you, you know, that it's just like a process check? 


I mean, to be clear, I don't know. I don't know a whole lot about product design. But what I would think is, it would make sense to have that in, like the onboarding roadmap where it's like, okay, 30 days in or 60 days in, you're going to speak with somebody from product design and do a walkthrough of some sort to ensure that, like, you know, and then it's just like a natural introduction. I'm just curious, what does that look like?


Tony Caraballo  14:40  

That would be great. That's a great idea. I think that's a. I feel like there are companies that do that. I would consider that pretty high. 


I would consider that a more mature operationally mature UX shot for, you know, process, right, like, if you're doing that, then you've worked UX now into the standard operating procedure of like, bringing customers in not just the product development process, but the actual customer onboarding, which is awesome. 


Typically, it just starts off very ad hoc. If you're a US person in an enterprise company, then you're typically working with the sales, sales engineer, or salespeople or the account manager, whatever your equivalent of an account manager is. And the product managers, those are folks that are customer facing, that's typically what I see is like, usually, the product managers are doing a lot of that heavy lifting on getting customer feedback, because they're already customer facing. And they're either conducting surveys or things like that. And that's the way that you can kind of start speeding up that process for more robust, like user testing, and things like that. 


So you would just start off to answer your question, you'd start off like by emailing them through their account manager or to the pm and then you start getting better processes like that, like, now you start repeating with the same customers, and you can even have a more like recurring or scheduled user testing sessions and things like that. 


Like Leslie also says, like, then you can get, and it usually starts off very ad hoc with emails and things like that. And then you start progressing towards something more like in-app outreach, where it's like, if I'm using your product, I might see a little, you know, little pop up that we're used to seeing every now and then of like, hey, you know, do you want to give a few minutes to give us some feedback and that sort of stuff.


James Mackey  16:45  

And that makes a lot of sense.  I don't know why, and again, this is from an outside perspective. But I feel like such a huge part of the experience happens in onboarding, because it's like the first time they're interacting with the product, right? So maybe there's something kind of challenging about the product. And after a few months, it's like, they kind of figured out the workaround, or they figured out like, right, but they had to go through that grind of figuring out that weird, quirky thing, or how to use this one feature if they go down far enough of a rabbit hole. 


And then it's like, the experience kind of just, like starts to break down. So I'm just wondering, it would, it would seem to me that bringing UX into the onboarding piece of it, given that UX is user, like user experience, right? Such a big part of the experience is the onboarding. 


And that is going to potentially, I mean, maybe that cyber safety has to use you. Right. But like they have to engage with the product, but I feel like at least some products, it's like, if they don't have a good onboarding experience, if they get stuck, or if they feel like that, like, that part isn't optimized, then that could potentially lead to them not using full features, potentially, that like the engineering spent all this time building out, like, again, this is from an outsider perspective, but I feel like, that'd be like a really critical time to ensure that you're getting engagement from new customers, and you build that kind of stickiness, right. With the customer relationship.


Tony Caraballo  18:07  

It is a critical time to get user feedback. But I think, in addition to that, it's smart to get user feedback as part of the standard process for onboarding. On top of that, it would be smart to get, you know, it's really important to get user feedback as a standard process of just any release, right? 


Because you're releasing new features, you know, regularly to customers who are new to you who are not new to you, but they're still new to the feature, right? And if you really want to make sure that you're getting, like you said, usage from those things, and you know, from those new features, then that's when you really have to be getting that feedback anyway, as well. 


James Mackey  18:49  

Yeah, like, do you so is that feedback to us can actually be baked into the product workflow, where it's like, they complete the process of a new feature for the first time and like something, like pops up like a little chat box, and it just says, like, tell us about your experience.


Tony Caraballo  19:04  

The candidate, I'm a big fan of that, you know, but I also think that's like, you can get feedback from those snap outreaches. And you'll get some comments. And then you have to, you have to think about the fact that it's like, on the other side of all of that incoming feedback, right, so you've got all that data coming in on the other side of that is analysis. 


So what are you going to do with those comments? And with that, put that information, right? So that's why I say it's, it goes from different levels of maturity because if you don't have people on the back end to analyze that, you just end up with like this firehose of comments that might not mean anything, or you might interpret it wrong. You know, the bad data leads to bad decisions. So you don't want to be in a situation where you're just kind of like anecdotally interpreting everything. 


So yeah, you can get it from those inap outreaches, but also just building that into the standard. I mean, we talked a lot about UX being part of building UX into the product development process. I don't really believe that that's the goal. Like, to me, the UX process is the product development process.

So you build that in, you have to, do research to discover new opportunities, the discovery of the problem, you have to define the problem, whether you're just building something or whether you're, it's not just because you're doing UX quote, unquote, it's because you're building something, you know.


You have to discover the opportunity and define the problem that you're solving, come up with some solutions to solve that problem, validate those solutions, and then deliver something to the user, and then get feedback on it. You know, so building that into the process itself, not just building it into the product is meant for, but


James Mackey  20:57  

That makes a lot of sense. So I think that's a good segue. So it's, we've, you know, we kind of talking about like, step by step, like, obviously, doing the participant recruitment, you know, getting good, you know, people using the product to engage with you monitored, kind of user testing out is that sort of phrase exactly, but like doing that motion. And so like, so. So from there, kind of what happens, and then, can you talk to us a little bit about, like, the interaction between engineering design, product, like how those different functions work together? 


Because I think for late growth, stage companies, and enterprise companies, I'm sure there are plenty of opportunities for the process to break down and for a lot of waste to occur. Because, either engineering or product or design could kind of go off and spiral or spiral in their own direction, without really collectively working with their counterparts to ensure that everybody's aligned toward the common goal of creating great products and great product experiences that customers need. Right? So can you talk to us a little bit about what happens next? And then how do the different functions kind of interact together or should interact together? And maybe also the most common places where you see that breakdown? Right, where does that communication break down?


Tony Caraballo  22:13  

Yeah, I mean, when I'm advising companies, and just in general, from what I've seen.. Processes are just processes. Processes are, like tooling, right? Like tooling isn't going to solve your problems. It's just a mechanism by which you might try to solve problems or, you know, improve your outcomes. But when I talk a lot about operations, what I'm really talking about is, a lot of work design, it's how your teams are positioned to work together. 


So if I'm gonna pull an analogy out of the blue, if you're, you know, on a football team or something, right, like, it's less about, like, which plays you're running and more about, like, well, you know, do you have, 11 linebackers on the field, instead of like, you know, positioned correctly to do to get the results that you want, you know. Jared Spool is a guy who knows a lot about UX, which is an understatement. But he likes to say, You're perfectly optimized for the results you're getting are some I'm gonna paraphrase.


But I truly believe that with regard to organizations, I believe that what I mean, that's true of life, right? Like, if you want to change the results that you're getting, you know, you have to change the way that you operate.


James Mackey  23:30  

That is such a sharp statement. I'm like, I want to remember that I'm writing that down. Yeah. Perfectly optimized for the results you're currently getting. Yeah, it's true. Yeah, it is true. It's 100%. True. It's not even like 99% You like that? Is that 100% right.


Tony Caraballo  23:46  

Yeah, you got to reconcile that.


James Mackey  23:51  

You got to work on that, right?


Tony Caraballo  23:53  

I mean, that's really what I'm thinking about. When I'm thinking about operations. It's less, like, there's a lot of stuff that we can talk about with process and the developer handoff and, you know, agile and, creating wireframes, and testing those wireframes or handing those off to developers to start building on and at what point who does work and things like that? And the truth of the matter is, that's all going to break down or, or more sort of gel in different ways, depending on the team. But do you have the right players on the field? And do they have the right outcomes and goals in mind? are they accountable for the right outcomes and things like that? What I mean by right, I can go into that a little bit.

James Mackey  24:33  


Yeah, I mean, right. And also, like, Where does shit usually break down? So I mean, like, where are the areas where you just see the biggest opportunities for catastrophe where it's just like, it's just the communication breaks down and then like, someone's off, like over here to the side doing this thing? Like, how do you like, how do you make sure that doesn't happen? 


I mean, you said org structure, right, but can you give us some examples? I mean, not necessarily like, it could be hypothetical examples. But like, just some examples of where, where the biggest threats are for things to kind of break down?


Tony Caraballo  25:08  

I think where things typically break down is if what is when teams are not working toward the same outcome when different disciplines are not working toward the same outcome, if UX is not working towards the same outcome as the front-end engineering team, and the front-end engineering team, just when isn't working toward the same outcome as the back end engineering team to just use a big oversimplification. 


And those folks are not working towards the same outcome as the PM, then that's where things are going to break down, right? Because people are gonna have different goals and different incentives. And that's where I usually see things broken down. So the best way I think to combat that is to be a big believer in cross-functional teams, right? You want to have, again, the right players on the field, you know, a PM, somebody who's in the product role, somebody who's in the front end engineering role, back in engineering role or API's, or being able to reach down into the product, however, however far they need to be to make changes. And of course, obviously, somebody in the product design role. 


And then those folks make up a team. You know, if you don't have cross-functional teams, it's kind of like, Yeah, I'm going to  just bring all the levels, we have a team full of quarterbacks, and I'm going to bring those up against another team.


James Mackey  26:22  

Right. Alright, the cross-functional team is I think that's a really interesting concept. I guess it can kind of, I think a lot of this is very situational, right? 


Like, because when you walk into a new organization too, you kind of have to go with the org or team structure that you have. And of course, you can make some changes, but you got the team you have when you walk your foot in the door. So I think it's like maybe this is a good segue into thinking about like, you know, you what, like, I guess six months ago ish moved into the Head of UX and product design role for Tenable, one of the premier top cybersecurity companies in the country for the enterprise space, incredibly well known and successful. So arguably, you're one of the top UX people in the country. 


And I want to talk about that, that journey, and like, what, you're walking into the environment, right, like you're moving up into a head X, head of UX and product design position. And you have to kind of optimize for the environment that you walk into and figure out like, You got to optimize your strategy toward the team you're walking into and what they do well, and what the challenges are, can you walk us through? What has it been like to move into that head of UX role? And, just what your experience has been? Is it? Is it what you thought it was gonna be? Is it different and what was that experience? Like?


Tony Caraballo  27:45  

Yeah, that's a great question. It was not exactly what I thought it was gonna be, it was a lot better. When you're kind of going up in your career, and you're taking on more responsibility. And the main reason for me to take on this was, I was like, I want this level of accountability. And that's what I want to be accountable for. 


So I was expecting a lot of really difficult times because you're essentially just taking on more responsibility, right? And it obviously had a lot of challenges and things like that. But, you know, I came into an organization that was just incredibly supportive, and incredibly, got a lot of support, a lot of latitude. And a lot of ability to make an impact, which is, which is why we do this. 


But moving into that type of role, as things kind of changed and your responsibilities kind of changed. One of the most important things that I sort of took away from that experience was just setting aside time. For background noise,


James Mackey  28:56  

Oh, you get the right on that Reston Parkway. It's like every five minutes we get like a fire truck going by there. Yeah. There are two of them. So Oh, yeah, no, it's gonna be at least another minute. Like, we just need to let it run its course. I don't know why people just can't get out of the way. Yes, move. What's that? It's the intersection at the end of the signature with the, it's like, that's always word goes down.


Tony Caraballo  29:31  

So know what I was saying. Like, yeah, moving into that role. You just have to listen a lot. And you have to figure it out. You have to fight the urge to make an impact right away. Especially when you're going into a situation where it's like you were asking about like, Hey, you have to work within the operations and the organization that you kind of come into, right? 


So you can't just walk into an organization and say, " Hey, cross-functional teams. for everybody, like, let's go look, for starters, every, every team doesn't need to be, wouldn't work well as a cross-functional team, right? It's just if you're trying to deliver product features, then that's, that's really where those teams are most impactful. But yeah, a lot of it is, is taking in what the organization is doing, and working within those parameters to make, you know, to make impacts and make changes and make tweaks as they go along. 


I haven't found the right balance that I feel like, when I started, as head of UX, I could have done more listening, to be frank, without, you know, trying to make too many changes at once. And then also, you know, at the same time, I feel like there were opportunities for me to make more of an impact politically. So it's like, you can't get the balance. Right, you know, you just kind of like to learn every time.


James Mackey  30:54  

Well, yeah. So I think that's, that's easy to say in hindsight, right? Like, because I think the most important part is like you need to, when you go in, you have to understand why things are being done the way that they are. And sometimes that's because like they're being done in ways they really, you know, maybe it's not optimized for the best outcome. But you still want to try to understand the logic, if there is a logic behind how things are actively set up. And you don't want to be the person that just goes in and just says, oh, we should do it this way. Because this is what I did at the prior company and kind of do this, like the copy-paste approach, which typically isn't isn't ideal, right? 


You really have to understand the environment. And then those also like to buy in peace, right? Like, you need to establish that trust in that relationship with the teams, particularly when it's cross-functional. And you're working with other leaders and even individual contributors that don't report directly to you that can be challenging. 


And, I mean, I remember, just some of the roles that I you know, in the earlier days of secure vision, when I was building myself out, like walking into those types of environments, and I'll just kind of like, be real about it and be open, like, getting buy-in from people was hard. And there were times where, like, I walked into environments where people were throwing spears on my back. And I'm just saying that, because I want people to know, like, sometimes it is hard, like, it's not, I'm not saying that, it's like that for every environment. And hopefully, if it's a company with a good culture, that's not going to be the case, right? 


I think the higher up you get, it's like your ability to pull people along with your plan and get buy-in is critical. And to the extent that you know, people and you move to a company that's kind of within your network, and you know that people, it can make it a little bit easier. And the more that you don't know the people, sometimes that can make it a little bit harder because you're this unknown quantity, and you're coming in and you're making decisions. And sometimes not everybody is on board with the direction you want to take it. People get defensive about why they do things. It's easier to justify the way that they're doing things as being the best way to do it. And it's then it is to learn and develop and push and go outside of their comfort zone.


And so like I feel like that's one of the biggest challenges moving into to a head of a role or at a VP position, or an executive-level function is just like, getting that buy-in is becomes like, half the job is like how do I get all these people to go along with what I know needs to happen. Right?


Tony Caraballo  33:19  

Right. But sometimes you don't always know what needs to happen. Right? Like, yeah, right. It's the same thing with advising companies, you're right, you can't copy-paste, there's not one playbook that works. 


For every circumstance, every organization is different. Every product is different. And, you don't always have the idea sort of outright or the right idea sort of outright. I think that it's the same thing, again, just generally in life as well. It's like, try to focus less on the tactical solution, or like the thing that you're trying to do, or the thing that you think is right, I try to focus more on principles. And that's where I kind of like, base myself around. 

Because then the strat. the actual tactics, the actual, you know, tools that we use the actual, you know, something. I've seen people going to leadership roles and be like, Oh, well, we have to use, you know, this software too, to, you know, do this or that it's like, does it follow the principles that you need to do that you find value in? And I also feel like that helps with pulling people along too. Because you can align a lot easier on core principles than on specific tactical solutions or pads or ideas. 


James Mackey  34:45  

I think so too! And from what I've heard on the product side, there's, again, like product or engineering leadership. A lot of the time, I feel like leaders probably go into the environment like okay, they hired me because they want to make a change. 


And so they feel this pressure to like, Okay, we got to start from scratch, right? Let's tear it down. We need to be, I feel like leaders in general, not just, you have to be a little bit more sophisticated in your approach. And, you know, sometimes all you need is like a one-millimeter shift to the left or to the right, to get things going in the direction they need to go and right. So it's not always like a huge overhaul is not always needed. 


The best analogy I have is actually one like Tony Robbins has, he's talking to like golf swings, right? says a lot of times, like the adjustments in order to really, you know, get, I don't know, like the shot, I'm not a sports guy, whatever, to hit the ball in the right direction at the right place. Like, it's like very small shifts, and they can make huge differences, right? 


So I think that, like, that's an important thing, too, for leaders to remember, it's not always about tearing it all down. Like there's, you know, as long as if you had, you know, smart people working on these problems and solutions for years, sometimes we just need, like, it's just like little shit, like, opposed to like a huge bunch of big shifts. It's like, what if we just do like 100, like, very small incremental shifts, here and there, scattered about and maybe like, together, that's gonna give us the lift that we need to take, you know, the solution to the next level type of thing, right?


Tony Caraballo  36:13  

Yeah, I totally agree. Abstractly, like, intellectually, I think that makes a lot of sense. 

I can totally understand though, just for like, health leaders out there, it's like, that's, that's hard, that can be really hard, especially when you have, I mean, I've been there, I've definitely done it, like, where it's like, you know, you're feeling the pressure to make a change, make an impact, you want to, like, come into an organization, and, and you want that, you want to show that they made a good decision, right, like, and sometimes, you know, whether I'm advising or, there's just so many things that you can see, like, hey, all of these things need to change in order to get the results that you want. And, and you need to feel that sort of, you need to feel that sort of feedback of impact. When you're going in, and somebody's asking you or paying you for your advice or for your expertise and your experience, right? 


You can be at different levels on that spectrum. I'm definitely more on the spectrum of like, I feel weird, going into a situation like that and being like, well, I don't know, let's see, let's test some things out, let's maybe you know, you know, see how it goes. I like to kind of come in, and try to try to give as much of an impact from my expertise or my experience as I can. But then, you know, as you said, there's definitely a balance.


James Mackey  37:39  

There. For sure.  And Tony, this has been a really fun conversation, we're definitely gonna have to do it. Again, we'd love to have you on as regular guests, maybe once a month, once a quarter, or something like that. Just to talk shop and get your insights and expertise, which are incredibly valuable to the audience. 


So we are coming up on time. And I just wanted to say, thank you so much for joining us today. This has been a lot of fun. And yeah, thank you for contributing and just being part of this. 


Tony Caraballo  38:07  

Yeah, you got it. Thanks for having me. It's been a blast. 


James Mackey  38:09  

Of course.  Nick, thanks for producing and making it happen. And for everybody tuning in. Thank you so much, and we'll see you next time. Take care!

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